I told myself when I decided to create this blog that I would real, authentic, transparent. I told myself I would write what I felt called to write no matter how difficult, no matter how hard. It’s these very statements that have created the fear in my writing, the fear in being real, authentic, transparent because after all, if I do that, if I truly share, what are people going to think of me? I also promised myself though, that I would be brave. I have said that if my journey could touch one person, minister to just one person, then it was all for a greater purpose. With that said, here goes…
I struggle with body image. I fought an eating disorder in my teen years. I bought into the lies that who I was wasn’t enough; that I wasn’t pretty enough, skinny enough; that if I was skinnier or prettier it meant I would be happier, that I would be more lovable. I tried. I tried to be skinnier, I counted my calories. I took myself down to 1000 a day, but that wasn’t making a difference. I had to reduce my calorie intake to 500, but that wasn’t making me skinny enough either. I was still not pretty enough, still not able to be fully loved. 500 calories a day was hard, I was starving but not losing weight, not to my standards at least. This began the phase of binging and purging. I learned the best ways to vomit, the foods to eat that were brightly colored so I could ensure I had completely emptied my stomach of it’s contents.
I am a tall girl, I am almost 6 feet tall, and during this time I weighed 120 pounds. To the outsider, I was skinny, only to me, I could see every area on my body where I needed to lose weight. I could look in a mirror and see every single imperfection. I thought if I could fix those imperfections that I would be happy; that others would then love me.
The binging and purging, the calorie counting all stopped the moment I found out I was pregnant with Zion. I knew my body was no longer just mine, I was now responsible for the child I carried. I struggled through the pregnancy watching my body change, watching my body gain weight, but I kept pushing through for the sweet baby I carried. I struggled with my body image after I had Zion, after all my body no longer looked like other 19 year girls. I was able to keep the eating disorder healed for some time after Zion’s birth, during my pregnancy with Aysa, after the birth of Aysa and again through my pregnancy with Riah.
After my divorce seven years ago, the body image issues surfaced with great intensity. I was single. I had three kids, therefore my body was not like that of most 28 year olds, and currently not like that of most 34 year olds. I have worked hard to stay healthy, to focus on fitness, on strength, not on being skinny; I have managed to keep the eating disorder aspect healed, but the body image portion surfaces occasionally. I have had to come to a place of realizing that my body is mine; it will never look like the supermodels who are photo shopped, I will always carry the signs of carrying three babies. I will always carry what I call my “baby fat”. The shape of my body, the imperfections, they are mine. I have had to learn that what my body looks like is not what is going to make someone love me, and if that is all someone sees about me, then that’s not where I should be, for true beauty comes from within.
I would be lying if I said I don’t still struggle body image. I struggle as I set out to date. I struggle with the thought of being close to someone and them hating what they see. I know there is so much more to me, I know deep down beauty comes from deep within, not my physical shape. It’s just so difficult to erase the tapes of being told that I am fat, that I could use to lose more weight, that no one will ever love me, that who I am, as I am, is simply enough.
I will fight the lies that try to enter my thoughts. I will fight the lies that who I am is not enough. I will fight against the worlds definition of beauty to have my daughter know that who she is, as she is, is enough; to have her know that she is beautifully and wonderfully made. I will remind her often what my dear friends have reminded me. I will remind her, and myself, that we are perfectly imperfect; that its in our imperfections, where genuine, authentic beauty shines forth. I will remind her, and myself, that He loves us as He made us; and the right person, will love us for our perfectly imperfect selves, as that is how we will love them.
I'm a single mom of four radiant kids who believes in relationship with Jesus over religion. I'm trying not to battle with fear anymore - instead I am choosing to follow what God has called me to do. With that you'll find me here, trying to be brave, with the goal of being authentic and honest about God, single parenting and the beauty in the mess of my joyful chaos. It's sure to be a journey... and I am blessed to share it with you!